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Gift of hair may unlock a grant

06 November 2015

iSTOCK

MEMBERS of a congregation at a historic church are being offered the chance to contribute to its fabric, in a personal way.

A traditional lime-mortar mix is needed for restoration work at Holy Trinity, Dartford, in Kent, a Grade I listed building. The mix incorporates horsehair, which allows it to breathe and “move” with the stone. But the Vicar, the Revd Martin Henwood, has suggested human hair as an alternative.

Mr Henwood said on Tuesday that the church was seeking £238,000 in grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund; but, in return, the fund wants a public-involvement programme to show where their money goes.

“I thought, ‘Why not use human hair?’ It’s a good hook to get people interested; it’s a bit of fun — and that doesn’t go amiss in the world,” he said. “The people of Dartford can make a real physical contribution and become a part of its living memory.”

A detailed grant application is due to be submitted next April, and, if it is successful, the architect plans to use the mortar rendering at an event in the church “as an opportunity to explain exactly how it works, and what we are doing. People will get the opportunity of working with it, too.”

There had already been a great deal of interest in the idea, Mr Henwood said. “I’ve had people saying they are bald, but offering hair from their legs; a radio presenter asked if we could use hair from the shower plughole. It has to be clean.”

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